Vertebral fracture

A vertebral fracture is a break or compression in the bones of a person’s spine. Vertebral fractures are also called ‘spinal fractures’, ‘wedge fractures’, or ‘compression fractures’. Your spine starts where your head meets your neck, and runs down your back. A vertebral fracture is often caused by osteoporosis, a common disease that causes bones to become thinner and break more easily. People who have had a vertebral fracture often go on to break other bones.


Some of the symptoms of vertebral fractures can include:

  • Pain that gets worse when you are sitting and leaning backwards (reclining)
  • Pain in the middle or upper part of your back
  • Pain that is affected when you are sitting down on straight-backed chairs (like a dining chair)
  • Pain that gets worse when you are standing and leaning slightly forwards. Can you stand still to cook, chop vegetables or do the washing up?
  • Loss of height compared to when you were younger. Are you a lot shorter now than you were at age 25?

Breaks in the bones
of your spine

When to seek help?

It is very important that you go and see a healthcare professional if you think you have the symptoms of a vertebral fracture. This is so you can take steps to reduce your chance of having further fractures. If you have more than one or two of the symptoms of vertebral fracture for a few weeks as described in this leaflet, you should contact a healthcare professional, even if your back pain is not severe.

For further information on vertebral fractures, please read this leaflet:

Vertebral Fracture Patient leaflet Vertebral Fracture Patient leaflet in Somali Vertebral Fracture Patient leaflet in Urdu Vertebral Fracture Patient leaflet in Arabic